Lack of urgency causing slow automation of healthcare processes

Despite the money and labor-saving potential of increased automation, a lack of urgency has meant slow adoption of such devices within the healthcare industry, according to an article published by HealthLeaders Media.

Health executives would rather hire more people to deal with a problem than devise solutions that would require fewer employees, John Dragovits, chief financial officer for Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas, tells HealthLeaders.

"The challenge in this industry has always been getting people excited and intrigued and rewarded for looking at things innovatively and using technology to do things quicker and cheaper," Dragovits says. "That requires thinking through a plan or strategy."

Dragovits specifically talks about some of the ways Parkland has already used and plans to use automation to save both time and money. For instance, he mentions that the health system reduced its employed financial counselors from 200 to 130 by automating eligibility rechecks for patients receiving public assistance to pay for care. Dragovits also talks about how the health system is thinking about automating its pharmacy processes by creating a centralized pharmacy that uses robotics for filling and mailing prescriptions.

"These are the kinds of things we're going to have to do in order to be the system of the future," he says.

A recent report released by the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT2) supports Dragovits's claims, calling automation "an indispensible part" of shifting its emphasis to provide more accountable care. The report details ways in which providers must embrace technology for increased efficiencies and improved outcomes--particularly pointing out the importance of mobile health and telehealth technologies.

"We must also maximize information exchange among the different care providers and other components of our health system," Connie White Delaney, Ph.D., Dean of the University of Minnesota's School of Nursing, says in the report.

To learn more:
- read the HealthLeaders Media article
- here's the announcement for the iHT2 report

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